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Dec 16, 2008 09:29 AM

Where to Find Fine Pizza Toppings--PHX

I've just completed building a wood-fired pizza oven in my backyard, and will be conducting the curing fires over the next seven days. That means I'll have an insanely hot (800+ degree) oven ready for making fabulous pizzas in just 7 days. Time to find out where to get the best ingredients in town so I'll be ready to go the first time the oven gets up to temperature!

Obviously, Queen Creek Olive Mill olive oil. Pork shop pork products. Herbs from my herb garden.

But really good fresh mozzarella? Caputo typo 00 flour? San Marzano tomatoes? Other high quality ingredients? I'm in Gilbert, but I'm willing to travel for fine foods to make my pizzas. I'm keenly interested in finding the basics, but am a cheese fiend and would be delighted to experiment with all sorts of toppings.

My mother is a professional pastry chef, so feel free to suggest commercial-only sources. We can get in.

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  1. You can find San Marzanos and 00 flour at Defalco's in Scottsdale (check the refrigerated case). Lots of other goodies there for your pizza as well.

    I just need hohokam to deliver that Finocchiona again for my next pizza...

    1. I've bought buffalo mozzarella Whole Foods (actually when it was Wild Oats). It was quite expensive, but pretty good. How about growing your own oregano and basil? Nothing beats it and it is pretty easy to grow both in a pot! I am jealous of your pizza oven. I have to be content with grilling mine on the gas blast furnace we have.

      1. Should anyone else be looking for great pizza ingredients, I made a very happy discovery on Valentine's day. We'd walked across the street to Gilbert Pizza for dinner--had the kids with us and didn't want to do anything fancy, but remembered that they served more than pizza.

        My husband got the caprese salad appetizer (huge, by the way!), and I sampled a bite. It was absolutely delicious, and I asked the server if they made their own mozzarella. Yes, they do! I asked if it might be possible to buy some for use at home. Yes! They just need advanced notice, and they're happy to sell their homemade fresh mozzarella for 4.99/lb.

        It was right across the street from our neighborhood all this time, and I never knew. I'm never going anywhere else now. Their stuff blew away everything else I've found locally.

        They mentioned that they'll also sell dough, and while I'm happy with my dough formula, it's nice to have a backup so close by for last-minute pizza parties (if it can ever be last-minute when it takes 90 minutes to heat up the oven ;-) ).

        1. I'll also mention that in the past year or so of experimenting, I've discovered that Fresh and Easy's crushed tomatoes with basil (for $.94/can) tastes astonishingly close to the San Marzanos that cost many times the price. I only make the trip to Defalco's on rare occasions now.

          2 Replies
          1. re: modthyrth

            How about AZ Pistachios, which Bianco's uses on their Rosa pie? For some other local ingredients, you might look over the menu from Kai. That is, if you want to make some pies with an Arizona twist.

            1. re: tastyjon

              I should try those. Cashews were a spectacular failure--they turn into blackened little bits of nastiness in the high heat. Does Bianco put the pistachios under other toppings to protect them? Add them at the end after the cooking?

              Looking at the Kai menu is an inspired idea. I'll have to cruise their website before our next pizza party on Tuesday!

          2. I buy San Marzano's at Whole Foods. I live right by one and the price isn't bad($3.99)